Omaha Beach and jockey Mike Smith after their win the Grade I $300,000 Runhappy Malibu Stakes Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA©Benoit Photo
Gary and Mary West’s Florida Derby (G1) winner and disqualified Kentucky Derby (G1) first-place finisher Maximum Security, and Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach, a three-time Grade 1 winner and the Kentucky Derby favorite before being scratched three days before the race, lead a list of 17 horses formally invited Sunday to the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
The fourth running of the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, won previously by Longines World’s Best Racehorse Arrogate (2017), Horse of the Year Gun Runner (2018) and Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner City of Light (2019), will be run Saturday, Jan. 25 along with the second running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).
The Stronach Group, owners of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, announced the equine athletes in both races would compete free of any medications on race day, heralding a new era in the sport of Thoroughbred racing in North America. The medication-free policy is consistent with the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) standards. Two percent of the purses will go back to Thoroughbred aftercare.
The list of invitees for the Pegasus World Cup are:
- Gift Box (John Sadler)
- Higher Power (John Sadler)
- Magic Wand (Aidan O’Brien)
- Math Wizard (Saffie Joseph, Jr.)
- Maximum Security (Jason Servis)
- McKinzie (Bob Baffert)
- Mr Freeze (Dale Romans)
- Omaha Beach (Richard Mandella)
- Roadster (Bob Baffert)
- Seeking the Soul (Dallas Stewart)
- Spun To Run (Juan Carlos Guerrero)
- Tax (Danny Gargan)
- Mucho Gusto (Bob Baffert)
- War Story (Elizabeth Dobles)
RESERVE INVITEES IN ORDER OF PREFERENCE:
- Bravazo (D. Wayne Lukas)
- Diamond Oops (Patrick Biacone)
- True Timber (Kiaran McLaughlin)
Omaha Beach, who shipped from California to Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Eve, is trained by Richard Mandella and ridden by Mike Smith. The son of War Front was favored in the Kentucky Derby off victories in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel (G2) before being scratched three days before the race because of complications from an entrapped epiglottis. The 4-year-old colt returned in the fall to win the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) and finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). He enters the Pegasus off an impressive victory Dec. 28 in the Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita.
Maximum Security, undefeated in four starts at Gulfstream, broke his maiden Dec. 20, 2018 at Gulfstream under a claiming tag. The 4-year-old would go on to win the Florida Derby before being the only horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby to be disqualified from first on race day. The Jason Servis-trained colt would go on to win the Haskell Invitational (G1), Bold Ruler (G3) and Cigar Mile (G1). The colt is currently training at Gulfstream’s satellite training facility Palm Meadows in Palm Beach County.
McKinzie, trained by Bob Baffert, who conditioned inaugural Pegasus winner Arrogate, has earned more than $3 million and is a four-time Grade 1 winner. Second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), the 5-year-old won the Whitney (G1) last summer at Saratoga. McKinzie’s stablemate, Roadster, has also been invited to the Pegasus. Winner last year of the Santa Anita Derby (G1), the 4-year-old colt has since finished second in the Malibu and Affirmed (G3).
Spun to Run, a 4-year-old son of Hard Spun who defeated Omaha Beach in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, followed that performance with a second-place finish behind Maximum Security in the Cigar Mile. The colt also won last year’s Smarty Jones (G3) and was third in the Haskell.
Hronis Racing, LLC’s Gift Box and Higher Power, both trained by John Sadler, were offered invitations. Gift Box would enter the Pegasus off a victory Dec. 28 in the San Antonio (G1) at Santa Anita. He’s also a winner of last year’s Santa Anita Handicap (G1).
Higher Power would enter the Pegasus off a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 5-year-old previously won the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar and finished third in the Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita. Higher Power is a son of Medaglia d’Oro and a winner of $1.376 million.
Magic Wand, a winner of $4.1 million, had been invited to both the Pegasus World Cup and Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). Trained by Aidan O’Brien and based in Ireland, Magic Wand finished second last year in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1). The 5-year-old has raced in France, England, the U.S. and Japan. Second in last year’s Arlington Million (G1), Magic Wand comes to Florida off a second-place finish in the Longines Hong Kong Cup (G1) in December.
Graded-stakes winner Tax has raced against the best during his career. A winner of the Jim Dandy (G2) last year at 3 and the Remsen (G2) at 2, the Danny Gargan-trained 4-year-old was second last year in the Discovery (G3) and Wood Memorial (G2) and fourth in the Belmont (G1).
Locally-based Math Wizard, a former claimer trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., was fifth last time out in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He previously won the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and was second in the Ohio Derby (G3).
Mr Freeze, trained by Dale Romans, finished third last time out in the Clark (G1). The 5-year-old won the Ack Ack (G3) in September at Churchill Downs and was second in the Fayette (G2) in October at Keeneland.
Seeking the Soul is hoping the third time in the Pegasus will be the charm. The 7-year-old finished second to City of Light in last year’s Pegasus and was fifth in the 2018 edition. Winner of the 2017 Clark and second in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), the 7-year-old is being prepared at Fair Grounds with trainer Dallas Stewart.
Horses on the also-eligible list are Calumet Farm’s Bravazo and True Timber, Diamond Oops, War Story and Mucho Gusto.
Bravazo, bred and owned by Calumet Farm and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was fourth in last year’s Pegasus. The 5-year-old’s resume includes a second-place finish in the 2018 Preakness (G1) and Clark and third-place finishes in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile and Travers (G1). The son of Awesome Again has only raced once since last year’s Pegasus, finishing eighth in the Nov. 29 Clark at Churchill Downs. True Timber, seventh in last year’s Pegasus, was third last time out in the Cigar Mile.
War Story, a son of Northern Fleet who has earned nearly $3 million, was a winner last time out of the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream. He was fifth in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup. Mucho Gusto, trained by Baffert, finished third last summer in the Travers.
The 2020 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will offer a world-class level of safety and care for horses and riders along with a unique and fully engaging experience for our fans and guests at the race track and online. Since it was launched in 2017, the Pegasus World Cup has become one of the most anticipated events on the racing calendar. It has captured the attention of the racing industry, celebrities and fans from around the world and has featured some of the finest international and domestic runners, including Arrogate (2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Champion), Gun Runner (2018 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Champion), City of Light (2019 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Champion) and Bricks and Mortar (inaugural 2019 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Champion).
Past celebrity attendees include Snoop Dogg, Mark Ronson, Bella Thorne, Evander Holyfield, Dennis Rodman and Amanda Cerny (2019), Pharrell Williams, Lenny Kravitz, Olivia Culpo, Prince Royce, Wilmer Valderrama, Post Malone, Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, Carson Kressley and DJ Ruckus (2018) and Thomas Rhett, Vanessa Hudgens, Juanes, Karolina Kurkova, Aaron Paul, Gene Simmons, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Maria Menounos (2017), to name just a few.
For a third year, the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will partner with Groot Hospitality, owners of the world famous LIV Nightclub, to offer a one-of-a-kind trackside party, the Pegasus LIV Stretch, featuring top tier entertainment, unique food and beverage concessions and the ultimate race day views. Past performers at the Pegasus LIV Stretch include Snopp Dogg and Mark Ronson (2019), and Post Malone, Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri (2018).
The 2020 Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will be broadcast live on NBC from 4:30-6:00pm EST on Saturday, January 25th.
For more information on the Pegasus World Cup and tickets go to PegasusWorldCup.com
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